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Trip Planner Africa  /  Cape Verde  /  Santiago  /  Cidade Velha

Cidade Velha

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Cidade Velha is a town in the southern part of the island of Santiago, Cape Verde. It is situated on the south coast, 10km west of the capital Praia. A former capital of Cape Verde, it is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde. Once called Ribeira Grande, its name was changed to Cidade Velha so to avoid confusion with Ribeira Grande on Santo Antão island. It is the seat of the Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality.Located off Africa's northwest coast, this town was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics. Some of the meticulously planned original design of the site is still intact, including a royal fortress, two towering churches and a 16th-century town square. Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.SubdivisionsSanto António - eastSão Roque - westSão Sebastião - city centerHistoryAfter the island was discovered, the city was named Ribeira Grande by António da Noli, in 1462. The settlement was built in a valley inside a large stream named Ribeira Grande, vegetation is dominant. The abundance of water and resources for agriculture made it suitable. After the discovery of the Americas, the settlement became an important port for trading slaves from Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to Brazil and the Caribbean, which made Cidade Velha the second richest city in the Portuguese realm.
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